Obama Administration

From Lincoln to LBJ to Frank Underwood

Metaphors for the Obama presidency have gone from heroic to homicidal.

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Obama
White House

If you want to trace the downward trajectory of the dreams that liberals pinned on the enigmatic figure of Barack Obama, look no further than the presidential histories and political dramas through which they have filtered their understanding of his meteoric rise and drip-by-drip fall in popularity.

When the then-candidate for U.S. Senate burst on the national political stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he put his historical analogy of choice right there in the opening paragraph: "On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention," he said. "Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely."

Yes, Barack Obama was going to be the modern embodiment of Abraham Lincoln himself, fulfilling the long-delayed promise of America's racial reconciliation, in part by using his unusual-for-politics parentage as a springboard for uniting, not dividing. "There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there is the United States of America," Obama said, in the speech's most celebrated passage. "There is not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

The address, written in Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Illinois (the same place where Obama would later announce his candidacy for the White House), was an instant sensation. "I have to tell you, [there's] a little chill in my legs right now," MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews said. "That is an amazing moment in history right there. I have seen the first black president."

The ensuing presidency, and the last six years of American political life, have been so desultory that it's almost hard to remember how ubiquitous the now-laughable Lincoln comparison once was. Take this Washington Post analysis after the 2008 election: "He was a boy with a distant father, raised in a family of modest means. He had a curious intellect, devouring history and memorizing passages from Shakespeare. He became a lawyer and settled in Illinois, where he was elected to the state legislature. With relatively little political experience, he decided to run for president. Few believed he stood a chance of winning a primary campaign against the party's heir apparent, a senator from New York. But the gangly, bookish Illinoisan galvanized millions across a country in crisis with his soaring rhetoric, speaking in big strokes about transcending partisan politics and creating America as it ought to be. He rose from obscurity to clinch his party's nomination and the presidency. Sound familiar?"

The ur-text of Lincolnesque projection onto Obama was Doris Kearns Goodwin's award-winning 2005 bestseller Team of Rivals, later converted into the 2012 Steven Spielberg film Lincoln. These biographies focused on how a noble lawyer-president co-opted his political competitors, then rallied them with a mix of backroom cajoling and high rhetoric to undo the historic evil of slavery. As Washington Post reviewer Allen C. Guelzo put it, Team of Rivals was a "messianic drama" in which "Lincoln must increase and the others must decrease," for the greater good.

Obama basked in the comparison, roping Goodwin in for consultation, naming Team of Rivals the one book he'd bring to a desert island, and appointing former rivals Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton to important positions. Big things were sure to come.

Or not. In November 2013, Politico reported that Obama's ballyhooed team of rivals meets "only rarely, for what by most accounts are not much more than ritualistic team-building exercises" aimed at advancing the president's political needs. "Never has the job of Cabinet secretary seemed smaller," reporter Glenn Thrush found. "The staffers who rule Obama's West Wing often treat his Cabinet as a nuisance: At the top of the pecking order are the celebrity power players, like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to be warily managed; at the bottom, what they see as a bunch of well-intentioned political naifs only a lip-slip away from derailing the president's agenda."

Did those who invested heavily in the Lincoln metaphor examine their own gullibility in the face of directly contrary evidence? Hardly. Goodwin, one of the few to be challenged on it (due to the theatrical release of Lincoln), suggested in a November 2012 Washington Post interview that Obama fell short because "maybe he waited too long to give his health-care speech before the joint session of Congress." Uh-huh. In the land of presidential projection, every unfulfilled dream is only one knockout speech away. (Indeed Goodwin's next book, The Bully Pulpit, glorified the Oval Office's most notorious windbag, Theodore Roosevelt.)

By this point in Obama's presidency, the historical analogy of choice has descended from the loft of Lincoln to the git-'er-done gutter of LBJ. The fourth installment of Robert Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson series arrived in 2012, finally bringing the master biographer's subject into the White House, where in 1964 he would arm-twist Congress into passing a series of landmark civil rights and social welfare bills. All the Way, a Tony Award-winning play about LBJ's first year in office that draws heavily from Caro, made its Broadway debut this year with Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston in the lead. Critics and pundits got the message.

"Obama Could Stand to Be a Little More Like LBJ," ran the headline of a Keli Goff piece in The Root. "If the president occasionally tried giving rivals Lyndon Johnson's 'treatment,' maybe he'd get more done," the subtitle elaborated. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne hailed "the LBJ revival" as a sign that a more muscular progressivism was ready to find "realistic ways of creating a better world."

But the historical LBJ and his by-any-means-necessary style brought us a War on Poverty that bulldozed people's rights without measurably improving their lot and a Vietnam War escalation that stands as one of the single greatest policy follies in U.S. history. His temperament may have given us the Civil Rights Act, but it also gave us the unseemly spectacle of a paranoid president enlisting the FBI and a Supreme Court justice to dig up dirt on actor George Hamilton just for having the temerity to fancy LBJ's daughter.

Where the Lincolnphiles suffered from an over-fondness of rhetoric, the knock-a-few-heads-together crowd labors under a similarly unrealistic notion of what could be accomplished if you just locked warring political tribes in a room. That approach fails to take into account the many awful examples of bipartisan deal making, from Medicare Part D to the stimulus packages of 2008-09. Even worse, it reduces the dull, protracted realities of real-world policy making to a drama tidy enough to fit within the length of a major motion picture or Broadway show.

More troubling even than the rehabilitation of a man Democrats once couldn't wait to hound out of office is the rising fondness for an even more ruthless commander in chief: Frank Underwood, our cover boy this month, the fictional anti-hero of Netflix's critically acclaimed Washington drama House of Cards. Underwood is a honey-throated liberal Democrat in the LBJ mold who—spoiler alert!—actually murders his way from House majority whip to commander in chief.

"Given the congressional gridlock of recent years," National Journal's Lucia Graves wrote in February, Underwood's ruthlessness "doesn't sound like such a bad thing. The question, given the current legislative paralysis, is does the ends justify the means?"

Barack Obama came to prominence on an altogether different premise. "We need to rise above an ends-justifies-the-means mentality," he said on the Senate floor in 2005. Fittingly, that speech was in opposition to the then-GOP majority in the Senate changing the rules governing filibusters, a favor the Democratic majority returned in 2013-with the blessing of a president who every day looks less like a heroic statesman and more like a character in a tawdry political melodrama.

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126 responses to “From Lincoln to LBJ to Frank Underwood

  1. Underwood is a honey-throated liberal Democrat in the LBJ mold who?spoiler alert!?actually murders his way from House majority whip to commander in chief.

    Yeah, why wait until you get to the White House to start murdering people

    1. The thing that strikes me about the commentary of the left is how much of the rhetoric is recycled from entertainment and fiction…historical or otherwise. Their understanding of others is built on the simplistic and fictionalized narratives of protagonist/antagonist conflict…it’s like they’ve never met real people who aren’t caricatures.

    2. They admire him, of course.

      1. the american people must be the stupidest people on the planet to think that this man was anything but a complete fraud. Everything about him is a fabrication designed for effect.
        It is laughable to see all the people who voted for and adored this charlatan now wake up to the reality that they elected a complete zero who is actively destroying just about everything that was once great about this country.

        Perhaps they have learned something but not likely

        1. Ideology can make the smartest person stupid. Politics is the mindkiller.

  2. Other brilliance from Graves

    Is Bike Sharing for White Gentrifiers?

      1. Where do you find this stuff?

        1. It’s amazing, isn’t it? He’s like a YouTube ninja or something.

    1. Dammit, it’s the wrong people gentrifying the community.

    2. Thanks for helping me get my hate on early, SN!

      Some activists there pointed to collective-style models, including Community Partners Bike Library in St. Paul, Minn., which focuses on making bikes available to people of modest means and teaching them how to use the bikes.

      Wow.

      1. its not that the poor ethnics don’t know how to ride bikes

        it is that they are oppressed by capitalist math which leads them to believe that, ‘just because the Bus is cheaper and faster and less sweaty’ that it is better.

      2. Seeing as 99 out of 100 bikers are (white) yuppies and (white) college students of a particular bent, this initiative will be about as successful as making brain sandwiches available to people of modest means.

        We’ve reached the point where hipster lefties are on par with Mormon missionaries in their zeal for weirdo righteousness and postmodern boredom-cum-preening-activism.

    3. the numbers of the type of people who use the bike shares in dc is something like 90% white making over 100 thousand a year. It makes me chuckle.

    4. “The rough consensus was that bicycle advocacy needs more candid conversations about race and class and gender. “

      No. Just….no.

      1. I’d rather get a brazilian than spend time discussing the race, gender, and class issues surrounding bicycle advocacy. Only one of those activities would have a meaningful outcome, at least for 6 to 8 weeks.

        1. They are in agony. I love it.

    5. When all you have class envy, everything looks like an excuse to hate whitey.

  3. Isn’t this just another “Top Man” wish? I mean heck, Bill Clinton may have been popular, but he never really tried to strong arm much of a liberal progressive agenda through – especially after 1994.

  4. hailed “the LBJ revival” as a sign that a more muscular progressivism was ready to find “realistic ways of creating a better world.”

    We’re always just a few laws away from paradise. No matter how terrible the results of the last law, the next law will be perfect. Fuck these people with a power drill.

    1. We’re also always stuck in the 60s, with the references to JFK and LBJ.

      Fuck the Baby Boomers and their nostalgia.

      1. And the music! My GOD! In many markets, you have new country, new hip-hop, and “classic” rock. I like Zepplin and Floyd as much as the next guy, but, believe it not, there HAS been good rock put out since the 60’s and 70’s.

        1. +1 So much this.

  5. The staffers who rule Obama’s West Wing often treat his Cabinet as a nuisance…

    Also foreign allies, Congress, the press, voters, the Bill of Rights…

    1. Well to be fair, I think they are working with Congress on the Bill of Rights thing. They’ll get the broken parts fixed and we’ll be headed for a Worker’s Paradise.

      1. Employee’s Paradise.

  6. Soaring do-good rhetoric devolving downward to justifications for violence is hardly shocking behavior for committed progressives. Though not unique to them, it seems to be more acceptable for them in polite company to fantasize about how they could achieve their goals if they could use government violence on their political and social opponents. My experiences as a participant in numerous such casual political conversations that have gone this route are a big part of the reason I trust leftists even less than the right.

    1. ^THIS^

      I find it humourous how they’re always accusing the the right of “violent hate speech” for a few maps with crosshairs on them, but they’re the ones who would gladly load millions onto cattle cars if it meant getting to “make a better world” or some such horseshit. Whether it’s right or not never crosses their tiny little pea brains. Only what’s for “The Greater Good.”

    2. Barry Soeto (obama) never believed a word of what he was saying to the Amercan people. Like most progressives ( and a lot of repulicans too) he would say anything if it would get him elected. Once he was then he showed his true nature – not with his words(he continues to lie) but with his policies.

    3. Here are some of those fantasies described:

      http://www.nationalreview.com/…..-c-w-cooke

  7. Welch, I think you wax overly-poetic. The rise of Obama has no analogue in American politics, well North America, but is a familiar one in Latin America. Obama is nothing more than a caudillo. He is not the first “Black” president as much as he is our first “Third World demagogue who maintains a personality cult through a series of broad populist policies”. Obama is a story told throughout the history of post-Colonial Africa, Asia, and South America. There was nothing ever “heroic” about him, trust me, I know.

    1. Don’t cry for me Argentina!

    2. There was nothing ever “heroic” about him, trust me, I know.

      There is only one true savior and he is our own Heroic Mulatto. Oh, The One of Many Links, will bring The Light of Cosmotarian Libertarianism to the masses.

      1. That is blatantly offensive.

        HM is clearly an ancap.

        1. Ssshh, he’ll never be elected if you start bringing up those inconvenient facts.

      2. Geez…mention that you like cocktails one damn time in this forum….

  8. Barak Obama was a SHIT!
    Please, let me repeat, a SHIT of a PRESIDENT.

    Michael Moore put it perfectly: “Obama will be remembered as the 1st Black President.”

    I will admit, this country was clearly not ready for a black president. However, he’s let the Liberal Agenda back 20 years.

    I wish he would just step down and let Biden take over. As crappy as he is, I think the congress would actually work with BIden.

    1. You cannot be an effective President of any ideology if you are unable to reach out to the moderate elements of your opposition and move them and your party to the center. Obama came out of Chicago. Chicago is a one party dictatorship where the winner does whatever he wants and the losers either like it or move to the suburbs. Washington does not and unless you repeal the Constitution never will work like that. Obama had no idea how to effectively operate as President.

      Liberals rationalize this by claiming that is because Republicans are so racist. First, that is absurd Republicans are terrified of being called racists and would have loved nothing better than to have found a way to work with the first black President in hopes of ending that charge. Second, even if it were true, so what? That doesn’t make the results, which are all that matters any better.

      Just to give one example, had Obama gone after Wall Street and agreed to a real deficit reduction package he could have co-opted the entire reason for the Tea Party’s existence. He could have done with the deficit what Clinton did with welfare reform. After Clinton signed welfare reform, the Republicans had no animating reason to oppose Clinton other than for his personal failure. I mean they got a fair part of what they wanted. Obama lacks the imagination and ability to do those things.

      1. Had Mitt Romney been elected President in 2008 and had done the same thing as Obama
        -TARP
        -ACA
        -WARS
        -Immigration

        The congress and that other white america would not had been so pissed off.

        Republicans and their constituents in the South and parts of Mid-West are Inherently Racist.

        But I do agree with you John when you say “So what they are Racist”. You can’t change the hearts and minds of people, you have to wait until they die off. I don’t see me supporting a black candidate in my lifetime.

        1. The only people in this country who are inherently racist are white liberals. White liberals are the ones who can’t view a black President through any lens but race. Look at your posting here. You can’t honestly talk about Obama’s failings because at heart you are a racist. You are not a malavelent racist. You don’t mean black people harm. But you are a racist in the sense that you can’t view a black man like Obama the way you do a white man. You can’t judge him by the same standards and feel constantly compelled to make excuses for him where none exist and you wouldn’t do so for a white person in the same situation. At heart, you view Obama as a child and inferior to white people and thus someone who can’t ever be held fully accountable for their failures the way a white person does.

          In many ways your sort of racism is worse than the old time racism. The old time racism was so obviously evil that people at heart would eventually feel guilty about it. Your kind of racism is much more insidious and lasting since it makes you feel superior and also gives you a sense of moral righteousness.

          Its a shame you people are like that. Thanks to you and those like you inability to get beyond race and treat Obama like any other President, we are unlikely to ever see another black President. No one wants to go through this again and everyone realizes that Progs are not ready and probably will never be ready for one.

          1. John,

            Do you have any idea how silly the statement “The only white racists in America are White Liberals” sound?
            What about the South?

            1. It doesn’t change that it is true. In fact your dismissal of it and refusal to consider the possibility shows that at some level you know its true.

              You know as well as I do that had Obama been white, the left would have revolted the way they did against Johnson and really the way the did against Clinton. The left went third party in 2000 and wouldn’t vote for Gore, Clinton’s designated successor. The only reason for that is that you cannot judge a black man the way you do a white man.

              You only think it sounds silly because you think there is only one kind of racism. There isn’t. There is also paternal racism. This is your racism. While it is not as overtly vile as the old malevolent racism, it is every bit as dehumanizing to blacks and every bit the same kind of expression of white supremacy. To white liberals blacks are children in need of their care and saving from all of the other non liberal bad white people. That is nothing but 21st Century white supremacy.

              1. Heh…last time I pointed that out here, I got called racist in response.

            2. What about the South? I spend roughly half the year in Louisiana and the other half in NYC (I have also lived in FL, GA, TX, and MS). NY has, in my experience over the last 10 years, far, far, far more examples of both overt and covert racial animus and bigotry on display than does Dixie.

            3. Do you have any idea how silly the statement “The only white racists in America are White Liberals” sound?
              What about the South?

              It’s true that white liberals aren’t the only racists, I suspect John was engaging in a little hyperbole there. I’ve lived in the South and seen actual no shit Klansmen before. The difference is that in the South, while you still have a few old time white supremacist type racists around, there’s not very many, and they’re certainly not any kind of political force, not like the old days at least. Most people, even other white southerners, are repulsed and sickened by them.

              The problem with a lot (not all) white liberal is that often time they’re “soft racists” without even realizing it. They view themselves as enlightened and better than those shitty old time racists. They only wany yo help blacks, because afterall, blacks can’t get ahead without their help…

              And there it is.

            4. Maybe you don’t believe these anonymous Internet posters, but would you believe a 66 year old black man from Georgia?

              http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/12/…..index.html

        2. Had Mitt Romney been elected President in 2008 and had done the same thing as Obama
          -TARP
          -ACA
          -WARS
          -Immigration

          The congress and that other white america would not had been so pissed off.

          First of all, I think you meant McCain, not Romney in 2008. Secondly, you know that “that other white america” (whatever the fuck that means) would have been less pissed off how? Do you have a crystal ball that allows you to see all possible outcomes? OR do just have FEELINGS and talking points that say ‘RETHUGLIKKKANZ R TEH RACISTZ!1!!1!!!!”

          A little recent history primer, since you obviously can’t remember anything from way back in 2008 with any clarity: the origins of the Tea Party movement started with anger over TARP (which was passed and signed into law by BOOOSH, not Obama). It didn’t have a name until Spring of 2009, and by then the anger had shifted to healthcare reform, but Congress was inundated with furious phone calls and emails over TARP. Also, the 3rd item you listed was “WARS”, which was also something that BOOOSH did, and probably cost McCain the election because people thought he’d be to similar to BOOOSH (HAHAHA!).

          The point being, ascribing racist motives to people’s criticisms of Obama is frankly stupid. Especially when you consider that some of the same things you point out above were also done by BOOOSH. The reason why Republicans weren’t so outraged by those things back then is better explained by partisanship than by racism.

          1. What started it for me was “The Bridge to Nowhere”.

        3. you are an idiot
          Romney would have done ANY of those things so your premise is entirely wrong.

    2. Lastly, Obama has proven to be a terrible orator. Never once in his entire Presidency did he ever give a speech that moved public opinion his way. That is the whole point of the “bully pulpit” of being President. It is supposed to enable the President to move the public, that means more than just his cult like supporters, in his direction and pressure Congress to give him what he wants. Obama has never done that once. Anything he has accomplished has been through brute force. And that is a recipe for failure.

      1. He’s also terrible at press conferences. He’s had some speechwriters crank out a few vacuous but popular speeches several years ago. That’s it.

      2. Yes, but he a “clean and articulate” (in the words of Joe Biden) black man. That’s what matters.

    3. I will admit, this country was clearly not ready for a black president.

      Bullshit. The country was ready for a black president. He failed because he’s a crappy leader, not because our country failed to accept his “blackness”. Saying we weren’t “ready” for him is to excuse his pure shittyness. Sorry, no.

      1. Exactly. The country spent ten years practically begging Colin Powell to run. I think Colin Powell could have gotten 60% in a general election. And since he is liberal but not batshit idiotic faculty lounge liberal like Obama, probably would have been the President they told themselves Obama would be.

        In some ways, everyone on the Right should thank God the first black President was Obama and not someone who had any kind of common sense like Powell.

        1. They would had done the same thing to Powell.
          Color had a lot to do with it.

          However, I’m hopeful that in 2-3 generations, it will not be an issue.

          1. You are projecting. The Right loved Powell. The Right would give anything to elect a conservative black President. There is so much social pressure on whites to prove they are not racist, white conservatives would vote for a black GOP out of guilt just like white liberals voted for Obama.

            You are just rationalizing your own racist inability to judge Obama like you would a white President by pretending it is the other side who is racist. No, you are the racist one here. You are the one who can’t get over race.

            Again, ask yourself, would you defend a white President of any party who abused the NSA, assassinated an American citizen and let Wall Street walk away after the biggest fraud in history? No way would you. You only defend Obama here and blame “racism” because you are unable to view him as a full human being. In your mind he is black and thus something less and not fully responsible.

      2. I disagree and there is lots of evidence showing that this country and the “other white America” which you, Ms. Bertrum, i am not accusing you of being a member of, went all out to make this guy look bad.

        In addition to that, this Obama guy SUCKed.

        1. No. This is how liberals deny Obama his agency and his humanity.

          Every president has strong, vocal and sometimes unhinged opposition. Every. One. Why should Obama’s presidency be any different? Because liberals cannot tolerate any kind of vitriol being spewed at a Heroic Mulatto. Because he is Jesus. Get over it already.

          1. NYC Lib has just figured he’s the actual racist here because as John has pointed out several times, the left would have abandoned this guy already if not for his “blackness”. They left simply can’t see anything except through race colored glasses.

            1. If Obama had not been black, Hillary Clinton would have bee elected in 2008. While certainly not the only factor, Obama’s race was a good part of why many people voted for him.

    4. A vast overwhelming majority of people who oppose Obama do so for reasons that have nothing to do with his “blackness”. Please stop the racist “not ready for a black president” please. I suspect that the same overwhelming majority who oppose Obama would support Thomas Sowell.

      1. But Thomas Sowell isn’t a real black guy, which I’m sure NYC Liberal believes down in his gut. He’ll deny it because of how bad that sounds, but blacks aren’t supposed to be politically conservative in his view.

        When blacks voted overwhelmingly against gay marriage (Prop 8, was it?) in California, NYC Liberal ignored that and blamed the Mormons for that particular outcome. Plus, California is technically a southern state, so there’s that.

  9. The funny thing about this is that Mitt Romney, being a centrist Republican and also possessing a decent amount of executive competence would have had he been elected done a lot to restore people’s faith in government. Instead, the Progs got their wish and got four more years of Obama’s mind boggling incompetence and (hopefully) damaged people’s willingness to support government solutions to problems in a significant way. Be careful what you wish for I suppose.

    This is the wages of identity politics and the madness which the left has been descending really since the 1950s after it became apparent the USSR was never going to provide the kind of prosperity the capitalist West was providing. When you stop basing your beliefs on reality and decide in the words of Ayn Rand that “if everyone can’t have shoes then shoes are bourgeois and everyone will go without shoes”, you are going to ensure any organization you run quickly turns into a Kafkaesque failure. This is what the Progs have mostly done to the US government.

    1. As much as I hate Obama, I blame a lot of his failure on the sentiment of congress.

      Had Mitt Romney been elected in 2008 and had done exactly what Obama did during his tenure, we would have the ACA and no Tea Party.

      This country was not ready for a Black President. Period. I don’t see me supporting another black guy for president in my lifetime.

      1. That is just you rationalizing his failure. First, we would not have the ACA because the Democrats would never have agreed to let a Republican President accomplish health care reform. Second, had Romney done the ACA, the Republican right would have primaried him like they did Bush I.

        You are projecting. The people who were not ready for a black President were liberals. Liberals are just unable to view Obama as a human being. Had Obama been white and done the things he did with the NSA and drones and such, the left would have primaried him in 2012 and he would have probably left office like Johnson did. The didn’t because they could not bring themselves to oppose a black President and hold him to the standards they would a white President.

        What makes the Obama administration so terrifying is that Presidents of either party are only really held accountable by their own side. As long as it is jus the other side complaining, the public tunes it out as just the usual partisan fighting. Because Progs are so unready to deal with a black liberal President, they will never hold him accountable for anything, no matter how egregious. There literally is no check on Obama right now because Progs were just not ready for a black liberal President. They just can’t get over race well enough to do it.

        1. I don’t think that the Democrats are as obstructionist as the Republicans. The ACA would had passed, as it did in Liberal Mass, with Democratic Support.

          1. You seem to think disagreement, opposition, and dissent (aka obstructionism in your worldview) is a bad thing.

        2. I don’t think that the Democrats are as obstructionist as the Republicans. The ACA would had passed, as it did in Liberal Mass, with Democratic Support.

          1. The house in Mass passed it with a veto proof majority and shoved it down Romney’s throat. Romney wasn’t going to stop it and was just negotiating the surrender.

            And even if it had, it would have ended Romeny’s Presidency like the budget deal ended Bush I’s presidency.

            You are delusional if you think the Right would have tolerated that because Romney was white. No, they would have held Romeny to a standard of behavior, something you can’t do with Obama.

          2. Wow.

            Are you not aware that the Republicans tried to pass immigration reform during Bush’s second term but couldn’t because obstructionist Democrats wouldn’t support it because they wanted to deny him a legislative victory?

            1. No, immigration law “reform” as proposed in 2007 failed because of opposition from all points on the political spectrum. Conservatives opposed it, liberals opposed it, labor unions opposed it, the high-tech industry opposed it. The bill as proposed became politically toxic and consequently went nowhere.

        3. Really good points, John.

      2. “not ready for a Black President. Period. I don’t see me supporting another black guy for president in my lifetime.”

        we get it you’re a racist, why are you belaboring it?

        1. Very weird comment from NY Lib.

  10. I find myself arguing with you guys over something that LIberals and Libertarians agree on, OBAMa SUCKS.

    We see it one way, you see it another. We wanted change. We wanted the end of the political machine. We wanted the end of these stupid wars. And we wanted an outsider. THIS GUY DID NOTHING.

    1. We wanted the end of the political machine.

      And you elected a machine politician from Chicago because you couldn’t judge a black man by the same standards you would a white man. Think about what you just said. You wanted and end to the “political machine” and you somehow convinced yourself the way to do that was to elect a product of the worst political machine in America.

      1. He is not a product of the Chicago Political Machine.

        We all agree that Obama is a Rookie with no experience other than Academics.

        1. He was absolute product of the Chicago political machine. He went from party community organizer to state rep to Senator all because of the Chicago machine. If not for the Chicago machine he would be an adjunct law prof somewhere.

        2. This is an astoundingly stupid statement, and – given your earlier prattlings – require that I stop paying attention to your posts.

          Have a nice day, hopefully somewhere else.

          1. John is absolutely right. No one progresses in Chicago without the backing of the Dem machine there. Only thing that slows that process down is that their operatives keep getting convicted !! Hahaha. If Obummer weren’t president he would have been indicted by now for any number of violations of the Constitution starting with executing Americans without benefit of trial – the ones he killed with his drones overseas.

        3. We all agree that Obama is a Rookie with no experience other than Academics.

          BS! he was unknown on the national scale, but he was well experienced in the political process. Funny, though, his voting record was groomed in such a way that we had no clue what he stood for! That definitely doesn’t sound like something that happens in the Chicago political machine does it?

  11. Having some familiarity with the Tea Party, its initial makeup consisted of GOPers who had long been pissed at Bush, but at least he was their TEAM. Suddenly their TEAM was out of power. It had everything to do with TEAM and little with race. Had the shoe been on the other foot, and Romney done what Obama did, then there would have been a left version of the Tea Party.

    1. The entire left is a left version of the Tea Party.

    2. No, mostly it had to do with policies that were driving us off the cliff.

  12. That, writes Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch, is a little troubling.

    I’m still a little drowsy, and read that as:

    “That Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch writes this is a little troubling.”

    …which fits too.

    1. Also, that Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch writes little about this is troubling. It works so many ways!

  13. Underwood is a honey-throated liberal Democrat in the LBJ mold who?spoiler alert!?actually murders his way from House majority whip to commander in chief.

    “Given the congressional gridlock of recent years,” National Journal’s Lucia Graves wrote in February, Underwood’s ruthlessness “doesn’t sound like such a bad thing…

    Talk about ripping the mask off, throwing it in a trashcan, dowsing it with lighter fluid, and throwing in a lit match.

    But remember, it’s those EVUT TEATHGLIKKKTARDS that are always using violent and hateful rhetoric.

  14. The US is SO racist about Obama that voters elected him TWICE! TWICE!

    Fuckin’ racist fucks.

    1. A couple of black secretaries of State. Black president. Black secretary of Defense. Oprah probably the most influential woman ever in the US. I think she could run for President and win.

      Racist, racist country to the core.

      1. blacks will never be satisfied – never

        They will hang on to that US is racist bullshit along as it covers their criminal, lazy asses and keeps the government checks rolling on in

        1. Poe’s law in action.

  15. Some comments above poke fun and Me and Liberals saying that we view black people as children requiring protection from the racist white people. Have you seen what’s going on on TV Lately?

    Should be consider an experiment in which we don’t protect them at all?

    1. Should be [sic] consider an experiment in which we don’t protect them at all?

      YES!! That experiment is called liberty and we should implement it for all. Why do you Whig/Progressives hate freedom so?

    2. Re: NYC Liberal,

      Should be consider an experiment in which we don’t protect them at all?

      Let’s call the experiment “Rule of Law.” For kicks.

      Have you seen what’s going on on TV Lately?

      You mean Black-ish? How can anyone inflict such gruesome display of unimaginative dreariness on to black Americans is beyond me. There, I agree with you: someone needs special protection!

    3. You mean how ‘liberals’ completely ignored widespread police abuse in black communities for years or even decades while libertarians bitched and bitched about it?

    4. Some comments above poke fun and Me and Liberals saying that we view black people as children requiring protection from the racist white people. Have you seen what’s going on on TV Lately?

      Should be consider an experiment in which we don’t protect them at all?

      What are you talking about? The endless series of HBO programs featuring Beyonce and Jayz shaking their asses?

      We need to send this comment to Stuff White People Like blog.

      I’m starting to think NYC Liberal is a parody handle.

    5. What is going on in TV these days? Sports, news, fake news, more fake news, unfunny late night guys, cheesy sitcoms that are kind of trashy, tons of cop shows and spinoffs. Some really great dramas. What????

  16. Barack Obama was going to be the modern embodiment of Abraham Lincoln himself,

    If you mean a hugely divisive figure who would set off decades of conflict over race, then I think you are perfectly correct.

  17. There have been lots of attempts to try to connect Obama to prior Presidents, but most fail. He’s not as effective as FDR or LBJ, not as principled as Carter. He certainly won’t fundamentally change the Presidency like Lincoln. JFK might actually work as an analogy, but the assassination overshadows his Predidency so much that it’s hard to make. I think the closest parallel is Hoover. Similar to the modern Progressives, Hoover was obsessed with just “doing something”, but like Obama, his lack of executive competence worked against him more and more as he went along.

  18. Suffer on, all ye who can’t stand Obama, including more than a few people who voted for him twice. Yet another good reason to have six year terms for Presidents. Six years in the White House and you are gone. The term limits proposed for Members of Congress should also apply to the Presidency. Obama would be leaving now. As it is, he will be around for over two more years, followed by another national campaign circus during which the aura of democracy is presented to the American Public.

    Another thing to think about would be getting rid of the Electoral College, which of course has been proposed many times. Having more candidates from other parties would also be nice, to say the least. For example, a Libertarian running on a Libertarian ticket would also be in the Presidential debates. As it is, the only two parties really allowed exclude other party candidates from engaging in these debates.

    1. Another thing to think about would be getting rid of the Electoral College, which of course has been proposed many times.

      Another nail in the coffin of federalism, relegating the states to provincial status, and removing any concept of competing power structures balancing one another out.

      1. It’ll never happen. Less populous states would have to sign off on a constitutional amendment that would further cripple them in terms of national influence.

        You’ll see California turn red and splinter into a half-dozen states before the EC ends.

    2. Another thing to think about would be getting rid of the Electoral College, which of course has been proposed many times. Having more candidates from other parties would also be nice, to say the least

      I used to advocate this. Now, I’d like to see it strengthened.

      1. The Electoral College was a essential part of the agreement to get the smaller states to agree to the Union. You’ll never get enough small states to agree to a Constitutional amendment that reduces their influence.

    3. “Yet another good reason to have six year terms for Presidents.”

      Yes.

      In fact, this administration has been the best argument yet for a wholesale re-boot of the entire federal government.

      Obama’s a symptom of a much larger problem, and obsessive focus on him and his antics – or the notion that the problem can be addressed via the electorate, or federal term limits – appears specifically designed to obfuscate that fact.

      http://bit.ly/1p6qQml

  19. I hope we’re not trying to pretend the political sophisticates on the leftish wing have a problem with “end justifies the means” power politics. I’m sure there are plenty who would be happy to turn an honest difference of opinion into sedition, treachery and a Constitutional crisis to be resolved by martial law.

    1. Absolutely no question about it. I hear it regularly said.

  20. I had a dinner party last night….yeah, yeah, I know….middle class married hell night. However, one of the women was a hard left Lib. She speaks in caricatures. It is as if she hasn’t actually listened or interacted with anyone that wasn’t of her ilk in her entire life.

    She described Republicans as if they were a sub-human species, rather than people who simply disagreed with her on a few relatively minor issues. She described people from the South as if they were all directly raised by George Wallace. We’re Canadians, by the way. I said, ‘have you ever met anyone from the South?’. Well, no she hadn’t.

    I know right wing types also do the straw man thing, but I don’t think with the stupidity of people on the left. Very, very seldom do I meet anyone who is opposed to gay marriage, and when they do, it is usually somewhat practical. Mistaken I think. But, they don’t demonize gay people in the way those on the left demonize those opposed to them.

    It makes sense they view Obama as a character in a movie. Why not? They view everything else that way.

    1. I have been called stupid and sub-human 1000 times here by certain libertarians.

      It is common for people to refer to the other political persuasion as STUPID.

      As far as Southerners are concerned, I agree with your liberal friends. If George Wallace was to run for President, I even think certain white Libertarians would back him along with probably 80% of the Solid South.

      I, for one, feel that we should had never fought the civil war and let the south be who they are.

      1. I can only assume that you are not black given your civil war opinion.

        1. Really, there’s no need to prove John’s point so thoroughly.

          1. It’s really not NYC’s fault, kbolino. If only we were all forced to carry a card or something he wouldn’t have to ask such uncomfortable questions.

      2. You are called stupid because you are stupid. There is a difference between generalities (all liberals are stupid!) and attaching an appropriate label to a specific thing (you, Alice Bowie, specifically and solely, are unable to make a coherent argument and one can thus reasonably conclude you are a mental cripple).

        Making an argument is about more than just stating and restating your opinion.

      3. Wallace did run for president in 1968. He got nowhere near 80% support in the “Solid South.” He didn’t garner that level of support even in the states he carried.

  21. That settles it. Matt hates children.

  22. Yeah of course our first black Prez would be compared to a murderer by a bunch of all white fake libertarian neocons who see everything thru the lens of race and would like to lock up everyone different from themselves. Obama is black therefore he is just like a criminal, right? I can’t believe you get paid to write this stuff except maybe for cracked.com or the onion!

    I see on here that people wish the south would’ve won the civil war, well yeah that’s no suprise after reading most of the comments that basically are anti black and pro slavery. the other thread was filled with anti islamic comments too. it just proves the point that everyone already knows,e.g that most so called libertarians are nothing but neocon neconfederates with tattoos. they should just get a tattoo of the confederate flag and cement there position as the new faces of racism and the kind of greed that hurts poor people and wants to give women the backs of there hands.

    1. “Yeah of course our first black Prez would be compared to a murderer by a bunch of all white fake libertarian neocons who see everything thru the lens of race and would like to lock up everyone different from themselves. Obama is black therefore he is just like a criminal, right? I can’t believe you get paid to write this stuff except maybe for cracked.com or the onion!”

      You’re an idiot.

      This big.

    2. I think you’re confused about who sees everything through the lens of race. But, I’m guessing you’re confused about a good many, if not most, things.

  23. So Google says that mattwelch.com can harm my computer. Presumably they mean beyond Welch’s 2004 support for John Kerry.

  24. “The ensuing presidency, and the last six years of American political life, have been so desultory that it’s almost hard to remember how ubiquitous the now-laughable Lincoln comparison once was.”

    Now-laughable? It was laughable at the time. Utterly ridiculous in fact.

    1. It can be laughable then and now.

      1. It is painful to accept that so many people in 2008 absolutely refused to consider that a man who voted “present” so many times as a senator could possibly lead our country. After four years of proving that to be true, they voted for him again. We are screwed.

  25. The model of the Obama presidency in House of Cards isn’t Frank Underwood- it’s Garrett Walker. President Walker is charismatic and well meaning but completely inept. He chooses as his (first) vice president a useless old fool who regularly embarrasses the administration. Walker has no ideas of his own and allows himself to become a pawn in other people’s games- without even realizing it. Sound familiar?

    There’s no one in the real Washington as smart and competent as Frank Underwood. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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